And finally… green roof at The Cairn Distillery becomes haven for bees

And finally... green roof at The Cairn Distillery becomes haven for bees

The sedum roof with wild flowers (Image by John Paul)

The green sedum roof at The Cairn Distillery near Grantown on Spey is proving to be a haven for bees.

Since its installation in April this year, the roof has thrived and is now carpeted with wildflowers. And as a result, it has attracted thousands of bees, according to the Ecological Clerk of Works on the site.

Ecologist Peter Cosgrove carries out weekly monitoring at the site to ensure wildlife and habitats are being protected and enhanced. On a recent visit, he had the opportunity to inspect the roof and highlighted the progress that has been made, saying: “The roof has clearly thrived, is growing profusely and now flowering. From my professional point of view, it’s been a complete success, with no bare patches apparent.

“There is an abundance of colour and smell from the plants, and I’d estimate there were at least 10 to 15 bees for every square metre. There was a noticeable hum from the thousands of bees present on the roof.”

A key feature of the design, the 900 square metre sedum roof is one of the largest green roofs ever installed in Cairngorms National Park. It was incorporated into the design to allow the building to blend into its local environment.

And finally... green roof at The Cairn Distillery becomes haven for bees

Image by Pete Cosgrove

Gordon & MacPhail, owner of the new distillery was always determined to ensure the new distillery reflected its stunning surroundings. As managing director Ewen Mackintosh explained: “We knew this was a truly special site, sitting on the banks of the River Spey and looking towards the Cairngorms. We’ve taken special care to protect and enhance the local environment during construction and it’s wonderful to hear our green roof is already proving to be such an attraction for bees.”

The green roof uses sedum – a plant which is easy to maintain and requires little water and few nutrients. It is ideal for use in green roofs as it is very resilient and can survive in the harshest of weather.

Following installation, the plants have been carefully monitored and watered once or twice a week and more often in the recent dry weather, while it gets established..

The Cairn is a second distillery for renowned whisky experts Gordon & MacPhail. The family firm, who own Benromach Distillery at Forres, announced their intention to build a second distillery in 2018. Work started on site once restrictions on construction were lifted in July 2020.

The sedum roof was installed by Inverness-based Wyvis Roofing. Founded in 2012, the firm undertakes roofing projects for both commercial and residential customers across the Highlands, Islands, Grampian, and Perthshire.

The Cairn Distillery, which includes a visitor experience, tasting rooms, The Gathering restaurant and retail space, is due to open later in the year.

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